Guest Post by Simon Myerson Q.C.: An alternative proposal concerning sexual offences and consent

The Secret Barrister

In March 2017, Harriet Harman proposed a legislative amendment to section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, which would have the effect of prohibiting at criminal trials any questioning or evidence concerning the previous sexual behaviour of a complainant alleging a sexual offence. This week, Ms Harman reportedly confirmed that she was pursuing this amendment, and I provided my thoughts on why this is a dangerous and ill-thought out idea here

Back in March, criminal silk Simon Myerson Q.C. took the time to correspond with his MP, Anna Turley, over the planned amendment. He has very kindly permitted me to republish his note, in which he addresses the flaws in Harman’s Law, and offers his own proposal on how perceived shortcomings in the prosecution of sexual offences involving the issue of consent might be addressed. I understand that Anna Turley MP has yet to respond.

Simon…

View original post 1,778 more words

Discredited Offending Behaviour Programmes

Appeals Barrister

If you are a long-term prisoner and you want to be released more quickly, you will need to satisfy the Parole Board that your risk has been reduced. If you are a “lifer”, then if you want to be released at allyou will need to show that your risk has reduced. The usual means of showing the Parole Board that your risk has been reduced is by the completion of ‘accredited’ offending behaviour programmes (OBPs), run by the Prison Service on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). One of the most familiar OBPs is the sex offender treatment programme (SOTP)

I first encountered the SOTP whilst a pupil barrister. I was instructed to attend at a high security prison for a parole hearing. My lay client, serving a life term, was told that he needed to do the SOTP, but that he could not do it because he…

View original post 1,210 more words